Ald. Tony Zielinski made the trip from Bay View to City Hall for 10 years, but never on a bicycle, until his first pedaling commute on a rainy Wednesday morning.
As a lead sponsor on a resolution declaring June 2 to 6 as Bicycle Safety Awareness Week in Milwaukee, Zielinski had little choice but to don a helmet and throw a leg over the bar. After untangling a shoestring from a pedal, the athletic alderman followed Jake Newborn north on S. Kinnickinnic Ave. to the KK River Trail that connects from S. 1st St. to E. Washington Ave.
Newborn, the youth education program manager for the Wisconsin Bike Fed, tutored the rookie rider along the way, showing him proper hand signals and positioning at intersections.
“Piece of cake, I loved it,” Zielinski said, after parking his bike downtown. “I’ve never witnessed the city from that vantage point.”
Zielinski said he worked to create a Bicycle Safety Awareness Week at the urging of community organizer Tracey Dent. Their goals are to promote safe bicycling and pursue street improvements that makes it easier for pedestrians and bicyclists.
The city plans to add 15 to 20 additional bike lanes in 2014.
As part of the bicycle safety week, the Milwaukee Public Schools recreation department offers safe cycling classes for children and adults. The next class will be held from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, at Riverside High School, 1615 E. Locust St.
No date has been set for Zielinski’s second ride to city hall.